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The Radical Period of The French Revolution Essay

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The Radical Period of The French Revolution

By the end of 1971, Europe was preparing to witness the end of a seemingly triumphant revolution in France. The country was restructuring its government in a forceful and bloodless manner, while the tyrant King
Louis the XVI agreed to the demands of the masses (albeit without much choice). However, due to the fanatical aspirations of men such as Danton,
Marat and Robespierre,it would be only a matter of months before the moderate stage of social and political reform was transformed into a radical phase of barbaric and violent force. In their quest for freedom, equality and fraternity, the leaders of the Jacobins inadvertently turned the revolution into an oligarchic dictatorship
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Moderate forces preferred to concentrate on the foreign affairs of "new" France, but the radicals insisted on domestic stability first. Led by the popular
Danton and the merciless Marat, the Paris Commune discarded the old constitution and called for a National Convention to begin work on a new, revised version.

The National Convention, divided by the moderate Girondins and the radical Jacobins, was the place where the future of the country was to be eventually determined. It was the premise of the Jacobins that they should eradicate the "enemy within" and secure the destiny of the revolution through the destruction of counter-revolutionary forces. They believed that by weeding out those who opposed the revolution, they could achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. The Girondins were not so quick to agree with the Jacobins, and so political deadlock begin to form in the
Convention. It was not until after the September massacres, when 1200 prisoners were executed without trials, that Robespierre and his followers were able to justify their premise. They condemned the actions of the unruly mobs that caused the deaths of innocent Frenchmen and demanded that the Monarchy be abolished in order to eliminate as many of the royalists and monarchists that still remained. It was Marat with his want 100,000 heads to fall" speeches that convinced the masses that those who were not in favour of the revolution had to be dealt with immediately
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